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Radicalism and Popular Protest in Britain 1790-1820

June 9, 2017
University of Derby

Kedleston Road
Derby DE22 1GB
United Kingdom

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In the mid-twentieth century, with the emergence of social history, the tumultuous years of war, famine and unrest between 1790 and 1820 became central to debates about the history of modern Britain. This was, it was argued, the era in which the working class was ‘made’. This conference will examine how several revolutions – historiographical, technological and pedagogical – have changed our understanding of this period. Is class still seen as crucial, and if so, how is it understood? How have different approaches, such as the spatial, material and visual turns affected the ways in which protest is explored? How do today’s students respond to the history of radicalism and how – and where – is it taught? Do the protest movements of this period still capture the public imagination?

This academic conference coincides with a number of activities in Derbyshire and across the East Midlands to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of the Pentrich Uprising of June 1817, described by E.P. Thompson as ‘one of the first attempts in history to mount a wholly proletarian insurrection, without middle class support’.

Papers are welcome from scholars looking at any aspect of popular protest and radical reform movements during the outbreak of social and political unrest, which characterised Britain in the era of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Keynote speakers

Professor Malcolm Chase, University of Leeds. Most recently the author of 1820: Disorder and Stability in the United Kingdom (Manchester University Press, 2013).

Emeritus Professor Carolyn Steedman, FBA, University of Warwick. Most recently the author of An Everyday Life of the English Working Class (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Submitting a proposal

Please submit a 300-word abstract and short (max 100 word) biography, clearly stating your name, contact details and affiliation (if applicable) to Dr Cath Feely – –  by 6 January 2017. Please direct any general queries about the conference to the same address. We particularly encourage proposals from early career scholars, though the programme will include recent work by both new and more established scholars.

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May 26, 2017, 9:00am BST

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